A handlebar mustache, a tough-to-pick-up motion out of the wind-up, and a sneakily difficult last name to pronounce. These are all attributes Oakland Athletics right-hander Daniel Mengden owns. And on an uncharacteristically sticky mid-September evening in Philadelphia, he seemed to have plenty of good juju, too.
The Phillies had just two hits Friday night. Well, scratch that. J.P. Crawford had two hits on Friday night for the Phillies. That’s the kind of evening it was. The Phillies, as you might guess, dropped the opening affair to the Athletics on Friday evening, 4-0.
It indeed was the Daniel Mengden show from first pitch to last. Oakland’s righty allowed just two hits in a complete game shutout, striking out seven along the way, including Rhys Hoskins (twice!). He did not walk a batter. It may have been that confusing wind-up. It may have been the mustache. We may never know.
The Phillies countered with Mark Leiter, Jr., who has gotten them out of quite a few jams this season by being a guy able to soak up plenty of innings. He did a decent job of that on Friday in his six innings, but allowed a pair of long two-run homers early in the game to put the Phillies in a hole. Matt Olson struck in the first with a mammoth blast to right, a ball that traveled about 483 feet according to Scott Franzke on the radio broadcast. I heard a 489 thrown around as well, but any way you slice it, it was hit quite well. Olson now has 19 homers on the year, and has put together a pretty damn good season for the A’s.
Matt Joyce followed in the second with a towering shot to right field, another two-run blast. The A’s did not look back, and didn’t need to with Mengden on the hill. Not too many guys have made Hoskins look silly thus far, but Mengden did. And he made just about everyone else in the lineup look silly, too.
But Crawford did save the Phillies from being no-hit. It was a close call. And yes, it’s settled: It was the mustache.